Given Toyota’s penchant for placing hybrid powertrains in nearly every one of its models, it came as a something of a surprise that the new RAV4 debuted earlier this week at the Los Angeles auto show without a gas-electric option.
While a RAV4 Hybrid definitely won’t be available at launch, RAV4 Deputy Chief Engineer Yoshikazu Saeki has revealed to Auto Express that such a model is a possibility for the future, and that Toyota is keeping a close eye on the market to gauge whether consumers would be interested.
The most likely powertrain for a hybrid-ized RAV4 is the setup used by the Camry (among other models), which combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder – nearly the same engine fitted to the standard 2013 RAV4 – with an electric motor for a total system output of 200 horespower.
Recent rumors have suggested that Toyota is considering an e-4WD system for the next Prius, which could also be a good fit for a RAV4 Hybrid. The e-4WD would reportedly employ an electric motor to power the rear wheels for extra traction in slippery low-speed situations.
Even if Toyota decides right away that there’s demand for a RAV4 Hybrid , expect it to take the automaker at least a year or two to bring the crossover to the market.